JUSTONIC METHOD - Pure harmony software with a MIDI synthesizer

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The Problem :

To play pure harmonic music, every note must be flexible. Since piano strings and guitar frets are fixed, not moveable, these instruments are tempered, always slightly out of tune.

Some synthesizers on the market today allow you to create an harmonic scale. For example, you can retune your synth to a C harmonic scale. You can then play a beautiful C chord or C melody. However, when you move to a D, E or other chord, you are hopelessly out of tune. Likewise, you can tune guitar strings to pure harmonics, but when you do this the two E-strings are out of tune, and as you play up the neck, the frets are not in tune with the harmonics. You're stuck.

The Solution :

Justonic Tuning's revolutionary new software - Justonic Pitch Palette.

How does the Pitch Palette software work?

To play pure harmony, all notes must be flexible, and they must be precisely retuned, on the fly, in real-time as you play.

The Justonic software makes tuning adjustments to the pitch tables of your microtunable synthesizer. It accomplishes the task in under 3 milliseconds. This allows pianos and guitars, with MIDI interface, to play and modulate in just, or any other intonation, in real time.

The Pitch Palette uses any 12-tone just, or harmonic scale based on whole-number ratios. A default scale is ready to go, other harmonic scales are provided, and the user can create his or her own scales to use with the system.

From this basic scale the system creates a 3-dimensional array of tones based on the parameters of musical key, chord or tonal center, and selected intervals. Rather than twelve tones per octave, the Pitch Palette employs - depending on the scale being used - anywhere from 100 to 150 tones per octave.

There are four levels of interfacing with the program :

  1. Base Pitch - Adjust the base pitch of A = 440Hz to any value.
  2. Scale - choose from Harmonic, Arabian, Indian, Meantone or any other from the list of historical, international, and user scales.
  3. Key - calculates the frequency of the key from the base pitch using perfect ratios.
  4. Tuning Root - the fundamental pitch for a scale (harmonic ratio 1/1), calculated from the key. This is the note that all the other notes of a scale are based from. Try a minor-7 rooted on its tonic. Try a minor-7 rooted on its third (for more of a major 6 sound). These two versions of the chord will sound different, although both will be true to harmonics, and both will be useful in different musical contexts.

During performance, the scale, key and tuning root may be changed in real time by several means:


Unlimited Scales

There are an infinite number of scale choices. In addition to allowing pure harmonic tuning, the Justonic system allows musicians to experiment with international and historic scales, Indian raga scales, Arabic scales with quarter-tone thirds, harmonic blues scales, and other choices. One of the serious aesthetic limitations of tempered music is that we have locked ourselves into one chromatic scale. It's as if painters were forced to throw out all but a few simple colors from their palette, or if dancers hobbled themselves with leg irons.

We have virtually ignored the harmonic seventh, the neutral thirds and sevenths of middle eastern music, the alternative minor thirds, and variety of wholetones. For example, the "septimal" blues scale bases the minor-third and minor-seventh on the seventh harmonic. These bluesy notes are much flatter than the tempered versions, they are harmonically pure, and they give the blues scales a rich but haunting sound. All of this we have relinquished for simplicity. Modern technology allows us to reclaim these lost musical scale resources. The Justonic system allows the composer or musician to use any cultural, historical, or newly created just scale. This opens the whole world of tonal possibilities to modern musicians.

Blues scales, quartertone scales, Raga scales, and hundreds of other choices are available and simple to use with the Justonic system. One difficulty musicians have had in the past with these just scales is that they require flexibility with each note if one is to play polyphonically. Arabic music, for example, has developed with very little harmonic embellishment because of this problem. Justonic is working with musicians around the world to solve this problem for any harmonic or just scale.

The Scale Editor below, makes it easy for Musicians to add, clone and alter scales in Pitch Palette: (for more screen shots press here.)


Who is the Pitch Palette for?

Each generation, each culture, gives something new to music. Music evolves. It is the goal of Justonic Tuning Inc. to restore the lost harmonic foundations of music that were sacrificed because of the limits of an earlier technology. Music evolves, and returns to where it all started. This is only the beginning. Musicians will soon discover that with the Justonic system the tonal palette has been expanded to allow virtually infinite combination of scale and tonal flexibility. Music has at last been unchained from the mechanical, seventeenth century, equal tempered scale.

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Tel: (604) 682-3456 Fax: (604) 669-3301